How Much Do Invisible Braces Cost?
Invisible braces–a category of orthodontic products including clear aligners and lingual braces–are booming. It’s easy to understand why, given clear aligners are removable and virtually invisible–as opposed to those awkward metal braces everyone used to have.
Although invisible braces have existed since the late 90s, their popularity has exploded in recent years due to technological advances and growth in the number of suppliers. At last count, there were at least 27 different clear aligner products on the market, as well as a handful of lingual braces suppliers.
While never cheap, prices for clear aligners vary significantly from provider to provider. Invisalign, the premium provider on the market, charges each customer a different price depending on how simple or complex your case is. When you choose Invisalign, an Invisalign-trained doctor examines you to figure out the costs and inform you about your payment options. Other invisible braces suppliers charge fixed prices billed as a lump sum or in monthly installments.
Here’s a price comparison for selected providers of clear aligners.
$3,500 - $8,000
$99/m (plus $399 down)
$1,900 - $2,600
$88/m - $122/m
$85/m (plus $250 down)
Sources: Company websites
How to Use Dental Insurance to Save on Clear Aligners
Now for the good news. Many dental insurance plans include coverage for expensive orthodontic products such as clear aligners. Depending on your plan, your insurance provider may pay a certain percentage of your clear aligner treatment, or it may pay for a certain dollar amount. With many plans, there is a lifetime cap on how much you can claim for orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic treatment is sometimes covered by health insurance and sometimes by dental insurance. If in doubt, read the benefits section of your policy, speak to HR if you have an employer plan, or call your insurance provider directly. When booking a consultation with a clear aligner provider, ask them which insurance plans they accept.
Dental insurance isn’t the only way to save on invisible braces. Here are a few other options:
Monthly Plan: As shown in the table above, most providers have monthly plans. These cost more overall but save you from having to make an upfront payment.
Flexible Savings Account (FSA): Lets you set aside pre-tax dollars for healthcare costs, including orthodontic treatments.
Health Savings Account (HSA): Like an FSA except that funds in an HSA can roll over into the next year, and you must have a high-deductible insurance plan.
Medical Credit Card: Special credit card with 0% introductory rate for the first 6-24 months (but you’ll pay a high APR if you have a remaining balance after the introductory period). The best-known provider is CareCredit.
Medicaid: This provides coverage for orthodontic treatments for eligible children aged 21 or under.
Children’s Health Insurance Program: Provides low cost health coverage (including coverage for orthodontics) to families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
How Much Can Dental Insurance Save You on Invisible Braces?
There is no straight answer for how much you can save on clear aligners with insurance. The amount depends on how much you pay for your aligners and what your insurance policy says about orthodontic treatments.
At most, a dental insurance policy may cover up to 50% of the cost of orthodontic treatment. Depending on the invisible braces provider, insurance company, and coverage limits, you could save up to $3,500 on clear aligners. Some insurers will even file the claim for you.
Here’s what some of the top providers of invisible braces say about dental coverage on their websites.
FSA/HSA, CareCredit (some doctors)
12, 18, 24 months
Never Pay the Listed Price
Invisible braces come with a hefty price tag, but the good news is you don’t have to pay the list price. Using insurance – or a combination of insurance and an FSA/HAS, you can save a significant amount on your clear aligner treatment. Remember: before purchasing, always check that your provider accepts your insurance policy.